Sean Patrick Flanery, star of the new horror-thriller film “Nefarious,” revealed how he often responds when people say they can’t embrace faith and belief because they’re unable to “explain it.”
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“I’ve reached a point in my life where my convictions are probably more well-rooted,” the actor told CBN’s Faithwire. “I meet a lot of friends that they say, “Well, I don’t believe, because I can’t explain it. For me, that’s exactly why I believe, because I can’t explain it.”
Flanery said there are plenty of dynamics in life he can’t explain, and referenced the unlikelihood human existence and its complexities essentially emerged from nothing.
“I can’t explain a self-moisturizing, auto-focus eye coming into existence simply because two rocks banged into each other,” he said. “[Us] sitting here by random chance is about as likely as the assemblage of a Boeing 747 from a tornado whirling through a junkyard.”
Flanery, who was born in Louisiana and grew up in Texas, said he has felt this way for “years,” and that having children was a “big catalyst” for solidifying his worldview — one that perfectly suited him to take on “Nefarious.”
‘Nefarious’ Is Unique
The movie takes a starkly different tone and tenor from other faith-based films, tackling evil, possession, and spiritual warfare through the story of a possessed inmate (Nefarious, played by Flanery) on death row. The bulk of the film is a fascinating narrative between Nefarious and psychiatrist Dr. James Martin (portrayed by Flanery’s co-star Jordan Belfi).
Another element Flanery discussed was the presence of priests and faith leaders on set to neutralize any evil that might be present, noting he didn’t feel he needed extra protection during filming.
“Prayer and God has been in my life every waking moment. I didn’t feel like I needed some extra protection,” he said. “I thought, ‘I’ve been walking with the Lord since I was an infant.'”
Flanery and Belfi said they believe “Nefarious” is special, calling the film a “unicorn.”
“Sean and I have talked about this, but these kinds of roles don’t come around every day,” Belfi said. “This is essentially … a two-hand or a two-character piece.”
Flanery said the actors spent time getting to know one another before filming, which helped bring their natural chemistry to light.
“We went down to the lobby to rehearse, and we ended up not rehearsing,” he said. “We just got to know each other … We talked about fatherhood, we talked about family.”
Portraying a Possessed Man
But beyond the actors’ connection, Flanery had a particularly monumental task before him in preparing for “Nefarious,” as he had to master what it looked like to play a possessed man with a demonic force inhabiting him.
Flanery said the script, penned by filmmakers Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman of “God’s Not Dead” and “Unplanned” fame, was so “crisp” and clear it didn’t require too much work to bring it all to life.
“The way it’s written … there’s only a handful of ways to display that line of dialogue, given the predicament and the scenario and the unfolding possibilities in [Nafarious’] life,” he said.
Belfi, reflecting on his character, said the internal struggles in Dr. James Martin are also notable.
The doctor, tasked with assessing the inmate’s mental health, doesn’t believe in evil or possession — and yet there’s a beleaguered and spiritually ill man sitting across the table from him.
“He’s presented with everything that he can’t explain, he doesn’t have answers for,” Belfi said of Martin. “And then, by comparison, the way he explains things almost sometimes seems silly.”
The actor continued, “That’s the inner spiritual conflict that he’s going through, which is — what if you don’t believe in something, but it’s sitting across the table from you? What do you do then?”
Belief and the monumental conversation surrounding the battle over good and evil is what’s at the core of “Nefarious.” Find out where the film is playing here.
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